Category Archives: faith in action

the hypocrite

One thing that really, really pisses me off are hypocrites… but particularly hypocrites of a Christian bent.

That BULLSHIT about “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven” is the most disgusting, self-serving, spineless, greedy saying I’ve ever heard.

One of my sisters, who got caught up in evangelical, fundamentalist Christianity at the young age of 16, apparently is a perpetrator of the above saying and using it for personal ill-gotten gain. After 20 years of hearing the teachings of her religion, she apparently sees it as ok to knowingly break the rules because she’s “forgiven”.

I can see the difficulty in some situations like breaking the “thou shall not steal” rule when freshman philosophy students consider the question “Is it ok for an out-of-work mother to steal a few cans of soup so she can feed her children who are hungry.”

But when my sister stuffs her iPhone in a bag of rice to suck out the moisture and conceal the damage done after she dropped it in a bucket of water, then goes to the retail store and avoids telling the truth when asked “did this phone fall in water?” by stating “well how would that happen!?” so  she can avoid paying the two or three or five hundred dollars it would take to replace it….


She knew she was doing it. She deliberately lied, deceived and conned someone to save a buck.  This is from a person who is making about 80k a year.  She prostituted her integrity for the cost of an iPhone. That isn’t about being falable. That isn’t about being tempted by The Enemy. She is an adult… a thinking, reasoning, conscious adult who has heard the commandments “You shall NOT steal” “you shall NOT lie”. She deliberately deceived another person for her personal gain and justified it in her head by replaying the bumper sticker saying that she is “not perfect but saved”.

You’re not saved… you’re a liar and thief.

Reflecting on the need of so many in Haiti

My blog friend Amuirin wrote a very poignant and beautiful post about how she feels (and I suspect many of us feel as we get pounded with stories of  ills of the world) that she cannot take another heartbreak on humanity.   I really encourage you to read her short post on this.  It’s quite wonderful.

I was going to leave a comment there but I knew it would go long so I decided to post here.  About seven years ago I worked for a small non-profit group whose mission was (well, still is) to help people.

As the public relations guy, part of my job was to get info out to the media about our programs. At the time, the Enron debacle was in full swing and we saw a spike in the number of people who were needing financial help.

I was writing a news release and for part of it I interviewed our director of the family assistance program to get her perspective.  She said that people who had lost all their life savings and were on the verge of losing everything else due to the demise of Enron were coming in seeking help. She had seen a significant rise in the number of families seeking financial assistance with utility bills, mortgage notes or groceries from our small food bank. This was on top of the normal flow of desperate, low-income families we tried to help every month.

Working in the department that wrote the grant requests, sent out letters to donors asking for more contributions and whose job it was to get more money for the non-profit group, I knew how rationed our finances were. I knew we didn’t have enough to help everyone who was in such dire circumstances.

And so I asked this person, “how do you… well, you know… how do you reconcile the idea that we have so many families coming in asking for help but knowing only a few will get it?”

She said when she first started with the non-profit about 20 years earlier she would literally cry herself to sleep as she thought of the families that were being turned away. But she came to grip with fact that she or the non-profit couldn’t help everyone… but she could help some and to those families she had made a difference.

It reminds me of this wonderful story that speaks to that idea as well.

The Boy and the Starfish

A man was walking along a deserted beach at sunset. As he walked he could see a young boy in the distance, as he drew nearer he noticed that the boy kept bending down, picking something up and throwing it into the water. Time and again he kept hurling things into the ocean.

As the man approached even closer, he was able to see that the boy was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time he was throwing them back into the water.

The man asked the boy what he was doing, the boy replied,”I am throwing these washed up starfish back into the ocean, or else they will die through lack of oxygen. “But”, the man said, “You can’t possibly save them all, there are thousands on this beach, and this must be happening on hundreds of beaches along the coast. You can’t possibly make a difference.” The boy smiled, bent down and picked up another starfish, and as he threw it back into the sea, he replied.

“I made a huge difference to that one!”

~Author Unknown~

brother can you spare a dime?

Hello friendly blog peeps, peepettes and casual visitors.

Today’s post is asking for a HUGE favor.

If you look to the right… right next to the title of this post you’ll see a picture. If you click it, the link will take you to my page on the Lone Star Chapter of The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s website.

I’m writing about this because I want to let you know I’m riding my bicycle half way across Texas in an effort to raise funds for researchers to find a cure for MS. I’m riding in the 2009 MS 150 Bike Tour from Houston to Austin. It’s about 160 miles or so over two days.

I’m do it for two reasons. One… believe it or not, I find it fun and of course, challenging. (i’ve ridden this ride before) Two… I know I am extremely lucky to be able to move my body on my own and so I feel an obligation to help.

I want to help researchers find a cure for folks who don’t move so well because of this disease.

I’m no scientist. I don’t know much about this disease or what it will take to end it. But I can pedal my bike and ask people to donate to my ride so the smart guys can figure a way to help those who are afflicted with this disease.

So I hope you will.

I hope you can spare ten bucks… or five bucks… or three or even one.

I know five bucks or even one doesn’t seem like a lot but it all adds up.

When I was in the Marine Corps I learned a saying from the grunts… “ounces make pounds.” I first heard it when my unit attached with some grunts for training and we were going on a 13 mile hike carrying all our gear on our back.

A few of the guys took us “non-hackers” aside and said, “ounces make pounds, Marine. Let me see your gear.” They proceeded to show us how stripping every tiny piece of non-essential crap added up to a lot of weight.

“Ounces make pounds” folks. I know times are tough. Hell, I barely have two nickels to rub together but if you could donate whatever you can…

well, every little bit adds up to a lot.

did Jesus visit my UU church

Like most churches, my congregation has potlucks. Almost every event we organize is intertwined with a potluck. We’re lucky we have a number of members who like to cook and as one of the resident bachelors in the crowd, I get to reap the benefits of some awesome home cooked meals when this happens.

So a few weeks ago we had one. There were quite few people there and a bunch of little kids running around like little maniacs… you know, doing their job as kids. We had music going, good conversation, good food and good fellowship.

Well being a small congregation, you know immediately when someone walks in and is a stranger. Alex, had been riding his bike around in our parking lot for several minutes as he scoped us out to see if we were friend or foe, while a couple of the fellas burned up burgers and dogs on a little hibachi.

He timidly and somewhat ashamedly accepted an invitation to come inside and eat with us. You see Alex is homeless. He looks to be in his late 20s and he has apparently made some bad choices that have him in his current situation. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “Sometimes when you’re eating a shit sandwich it’s because you ordered it.”

Continue reading

Super Tuesday and DMB

Some of you who have read my blog before have seen that I’ve referenced Dave Matthews Band a few times.

I’ve been a fan of his band’s music since his “Under the Table and Dreaming” album came out in 1994. Dave’s lyrics are at times simplistic, spiritual, common, unusual, erotic, political or silly. He’s surrounded himself with amazing musicians, specifically bass phenom and prodigy Stephan Lessard and drummer extraordinaire Carter Beuford; which, in doing so, allows the music to be extremely complex.

He has helped with issues regarding the environment, his opinions of religion are similar to that of UUs, and he’s just flat out cool.

But I saw Continue reading

The day after the party (part 1 of 3)

I didn’t do much for New Year’s Eve. My friend Tom used to call it… amateur hour. I didn’t feel like getting out into the fray with all the crazies this year… actually only two or three times have I done New Year’s Eve the way many people do with a huge party, loads of drinking and revelry.

I’ve never really been one to do or say resolutions for the new year either. But this year, I’m breaking with my usual and have very high hopes for a few changes.

About three months ago I was the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life. I’ve never had a weight problem. Actually that’s a bit of a lie. When I was Continue reading

you can help change a life

I imagine a lot of us examine and reflect on what has happened… what we’ve done… what we’re thankful for in our lives. I know I do, sometimes deliberately because asked to at Thanksgiving dinner or during a church service at this time of the year.

Usually it’s inadvertent… something triggers this self evaluation. For me it was watching a video on Good Morning America as shoppers stampeded a Best Buy on Black Friday. There was a guy who braced himself against a corner of the doorway, acting as a human shield to his son who had fallen, as deal hunters slammed against his back. Could have wound up like that Who concert in Cincinnati. And for what?… to save a few bucks on a Wii?

The frenzy of commercialism that is now embedded in our culture and this time of year makes it hard to resist wanting or buying the latest gadget or trinket. But when buying gifts for friends and loved ones, maybe we can balance that with other gifts as well.

From Sarah McLachlin’s 2003 album Afterglow, below is the video for “world on fire”

Go here to find out how you can help change a fellow human being’s life for the better.

let’s put on a show kids

An acquaintance of mine named Mark Zeus is a working musician. He does solo performances as well as shows with his band The Thunderboltz. He runs a small open mic night as well as teach mandolin and guitar lessons to make ends meet. He ain’t gettin rich but at least he’s doing what he loves.

He’s been out of commission though for a few weeks because he had to have double hip replacement surgery. Although he was able to jump through all the necessary hoops to get government assistance to offset most of the cost, he is not able to work right now as he recovers.

And so his friends in the Houston music scene answered a call to lend him a hand. Dozens upon dozens of Houston musicians rallied together to help one of their own taking the stage of a tiny brew pub from 4pm to 1am.

There was also a silent auction, raffles and donations.

It was amazing to see and be a part of.

Mark was actually on hand in a wheelchair. And what a class act. He was given the mic for just a few moments and of course said thank you but also said how honored he was to be in the company of such great musicians and to call many of them friends.

I would say not only are they great in talent but in heart, action and compassion.

where do we turn for guidance

Have y’all ever watched the show 30 Days by Morgan Spurlock. Very interesting… he’s the guy who made that movie Supersize Me.

This weekend I got consumed by watching a few episodes.

I don’t know if there was a mini-marathon going on leading up to this season’s premier but i caught three episodes… three that I had actually seen before. But for some reason they really impacted me this go ’round… particularly the minimum wage episode.

I haven’t thought about the minimum wage since i was in high school working at an auto parts store. But this episode grabbed me, spoke to me and I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit now.

In watching this episode, Spurlock shows rather effectively the difficulties of living on minimum wage and how families live on the edge every day. So many questions and issues spider-web out from this issue of living off of $5.15 per hour: homelessness, health care, psychology, child rearing, stress, spirituality, poverty, hunger, marriage, divorce, economics and the list could go on.

I recently began reading a blog called CRAP on Sundays because, like Will, I don’t really like to hear about politics from the pulpit and some of his posts resonate with me. But when I watch something like that episode of 30 Days, I struggle with the idea of absolutely no politically issues being mentioned from the pulpit. I voiced that sentiment recently in one of my posts, which was inspired by Will when he announced he was leaving the UU fold.

It can be argued that this (the minimum wage issue and its byproducts) is a moral issue. It is most certainly a political issue. Like most right brained people, I view the world primarily through my emotions. I see this issue and what stems from it and think, “that is wrong. We live in one of the wealthiest nations in the world and we have fellow citizens who live on the edge every day… and it’s wrong.”

But I have my logical side, too. I am no economist but I suspect goods and services will have to be increased for businesses to offset the raise which was signed into law in May of 2007. And so my logical, colder side says, “why is it my place to pay for someone else’s lot in life.” “This is a land of opportunity… some people have just squandered it.”

Sure, some people have made poor choices. Some people have screwed up. But many were born at the wrong place at the wrong time… way behind the starting line when the gun went off. A myriad of reasons can be thought up has to how or why someone has come to their lot in life… you know nature vs nurture, etc. They may have been dealt bad cards or just dicked up the good cards they were dealt.

But how will history judge us, those who had a chance to make things right, if we don’t. What will our children’s children think of us, if we didn’t act to make something wrong… right. (the emotive guy coming out again) And where do we hear about that which is right? Where do we turn for guidance regarding making things right for ourselves and the world around us?

I go to church on Sundays.

Then again… maybe I’ll just watch the new season of 30 Days. The first episode is about immigration.

[Deist makes a note to himself. “remind the Rev to preach about min wage… just don’t make it too political.”]

who’s your candidate!

I found this while lurking around on WordPress today.

Coincidentally, I found out while stopping by at Another Working Mom’s place that today is apparently Delurking Day .